Removing Leaven from Among Us
By Richard Sison | 2013
Passover is probably the best known of the Jewish holidays simply because it ties with our Lord`s Last Supper, which was a Passover Seder. We believe without a doubt that what Jesus (Yeshua) did on that night was very messianic in nature and a lot of its observances and practices are types and shadows pointing to Jesus.
Passover begins on the twilight of the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan. It is the first of the three major festivals with both historical and agricultural significance (the other two are Shavu’ot and Sukkot). Agriculturally, it represents the beginning of the harvest season in Israel, but little attention is paid to this aspect of the holy day. The primary observances of Passover are related to the Exodus from Egypt after 400 years of slavery. This story is told in Exodus 1-15. Many of the Passover observances are instituted in Exodus 12-15.
The name “Passover” refers to the fact that the angel of death “passed over” the houses of the Jews and God fearers, those who placed blood in the door post, when he was slaying the firstborn of Egypt. In Hebrew, it is known as Pesach, which is based on the Hebrew root meaning “pass over”. The holiday is also referred to as Chag he-Aviv (the Spring Festival), Chag ha-Matzoth (the Festival of Matzahs), and Zeman Herutenu (the Time of Our Freedom).
Many of us know about the first Passover in Egypt and the last Passover of Jesus with His disciples but we kind of neglect many of its significance in relation to our faith. Probably the most significant observance related to Passover that we fail to see is the removal of chametz (leaven) from the homes. The removal of the leaven is also a symbolic way of removing the“puffiness” (arrogance, pride) and ultimately the sins from our souls. In many instances, the Bible equated leaven with sin (1 Cor 5:7-8, Luke 12:1)
The prohibition against leaven is beyond question. Leaven in Hebrew literally means "sour." The term "leaven" refers to any fermenting product such as yeast or baking powder. Another Hebrew word for leaven used in Exodus was sehore (Exo 13:7) which means“swelling”. Eating of bread with leaven during the feast carried severe consequences, as mandated by God in the Scripture (Exo 12:15; 13:7). All leaven or anything made with leaven are to be removed from the dwelling places should not to be found anywhere in the land (Deut 16:4). Chametz includes anything made from the five major grains (wheat, rye, barley, oats and spelt).
The process of cleaning the home of all chametz in preparation for Passover is an enormous task. Most of them would start at least a month prior to start cleaning their homes not only with anything with leaven but everything that are undesirables and considered garbage. They would spend several days scrubbing everything down, going over the edges of their stoves and fridges and eventually the whole house. The spring cleaning practices was taken from this. After the cleaning is completed, the morning before the seder, a formal search of the house for chametz is undertaken, and any remaining chametz is burned. For them, as they clean their houses of leaven and dirt, they also prepare themselves spiritually as they approach the holy day.
These practices would give us a lot of lessons. The removal of leaven from among us is a physical manifestation of spiritual truth. Apostle Paul said in 1 Cor 5:7-8, “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened [bread] of sincerity and truth.”
Some people would argue that practicing this is legalistic but is there anything unbiblical about this? If we can learn something about these practices that will make our walk with God better, why not do it in the context of our faith instead rather than completely reject it? Are we sinning against God if we intentionally refrain from eating anything with leaven during the time of Passover/Unleavened Bread just as He commanded the Israelites in the Scripture(Ex. 12:14-20; 13:6-8; 23:15; 34:18; Lev. 23:6; Deut. 16:3, 8)? If we do not judge those brethren who came from catholic who won’t eat meat during the holy week, are we suppose to pass judgement to those who won’t eat leaven during the Passover?
"Since we are doing our spring cleaning in time for the season, why not remove the leaven from among us both spiritually and physically in time for the season? It is just a thought."
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Elders and Deacons of Light of Messiah Ministries Canada